City Theatre

City Theatre Company
Through November 20
Various times

What would it be like to grow up living inside New York City’s famed public libraries? Audiences will find out during City Theatre‘s world premiere production of Feeding the Dragon.

Written and performed by the award-winning stage and screen actress Sharon Washington, the compelling and heartfelt coming-of-age story takes audiences “deep into the bowels of a New York Public Library.” Marking Washington’s highly anticipated playwriting debut, Feeding the Dragon runs through November 20 in City Theatre’s Lester Hamburg Studio.

Audiences will discover what childhood was like for Washington, now 57, who lived with her parents and grandmother in several apartments located on the top floors of New York City’s storied and vast public libraries. It was amidst this unlikely home setting that Washington’s father, the library’s live-in custodian, had to relentlessly shovel coal into a “monstrous furnace.”

Taking on the symbolic character of a “fire-breathing, insatiable dragon,” the gigantic library furnace becomes a metaphor for a captivating play that explores family secrets, forgiveness, language, childhood, storytelling, and more. The unqiue theatrical event is based on true stories—some magical, some difficult—from Washington’s unique life growing up surrounded by books while also concerned about her family’s survival.

Directed by Maria Mileaf, Feeding the Dragon is brought to life by the play’s design team, which includes Tony Ferrieri (scenic design), Stephanie Shaw (costumes), Ann G. Wrightson (lighting), and Lindsay Jones (sound).

Theater-goers will likely know Washington from her extensive film and television career, including starring opposite Danny DeVito in the new Todd Solondz film Weiner Dog. Washington has also appeared in The Bourne Legacy, Gotham, Freedomland, Law & Order, and much more. Washington made her Broadway debut in The Scottsboro Boys, the last collaboration of the acclaimed team of Kander & Ebb.

Don’t miss the chance to learn more about Washington’s artistic process and fantastical play during a special talkback program on Saturday, November 19. In partnership with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Washington will be joined by Mary Frances Cooper, president and director of CLP, for an engaging discussion following the 1 p.m. performance.

Additional events include a Greenroom Young Professionals Night on November 4 and Pay-What-You-Want performances on November 5 and 18.

In need of a good fall read? Throughout the run of Feeding the Dragon, a curated list of Washington’s favorite books will be on display at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and City Theatre.

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Looking for more events? Check out our 12 Pittsburgh events not to miss in October, Everything you need to know about Pittsburgh concerts in October and 12 great family adventures in Pittsburgh this October feature stories.

Jennifer Baron

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...